Unsurprisingly, I have got caught up in a few twitter 'debates' about child sexual exploitation (CSE) in recent days. If people could write their posts on twitter in purple ink, I suspect many would. I have been met with what has felt at times, to be a barrage of hate against Islam. I have been pointed towards 'research' which 'proves' Europe is still engaged in a 16th century battle with the exponents of the religion. And I am left somewhat disturbed by a website that has to declare that it has no links to the English Defence League...
The argument seems to be this: many (quite possibly most, although I do not have the accurate figures) of the perpetrators of CSE in Rotherham and elsewhere are of British/Pakistani heritage or have a background that is Muslim. 'Therefore', since this proportion is so high (compared the overall population), this is evidence of a pervasive culture of child sexual abuse within the religion of Islam - and therefore its followers. Similarly, since Labour have run Rotherham over many years, CSE is the 'fault' of the Labour Party.
It is at times like this that I wish logic was a compulsory element of the national curriculum (alongside maths, english, science and, I wish, sex/relationships education).
When I carefully state that extrapolating from a few members of a wider group to 'prove' the whole group is the same, is just not logical, I am shouted at. Evidently when I dare to suggest that other parts of the country experiencing CSE and which are not controlled by a Labour council suggests that the problem is more complex, I am accused of changing the subject. Clearly I am in denial when I believe that vast numbers / majority of families of Muslim and/or British/Pakistani heritage love and care for their children as much as anyone else.
What is it with all this hate that people switch off the logical circuits in their brains?
Just as we have to understand where CSE comes from so that we can develop effective strategies to reduce its incidence, we also have to understand why some people are so prone to hate others. Both CSE and hate are tearing people and our communities apart!
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